I can’t imagine how many times and how many people have cited this scripture in the last decades of my life. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits”, (Proverbs 18:21 ESV). I personally have cited this hundreds of times and to be honest with you, this scripture has haunted me too many nights lately. Why? Because even though it flowed so easily out of my mouth, I have not been obedient to it. It began to haunt me because I have been through some ugly seasons in my life and out of my pain, hurt, anger and bitterness, I said things to people who hurt me that I wish I had been more gracious about. Those I couldn’t say to in person, I made these decrees in my place of brokenness and in prayer and believe it or not, some of the prayers took immediate effect on the people. I was really ignorant and underestimated the power that backs the words that come out of my mouth.

All the times that I prayed to the Lord that “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”,(Psalm 19:14 KJV), I was really confusing the Holy Spirit. Thank Jesus that He searches my heart and knows the mind of my spirit and intercedes for me according to the will of God, (Romans 8:27, paraphrased). If this had not been the case, none of my prayers would have been answered or desires met. I was very convicted when I saw the effect of my words. It didn’t bring me joy. Some of the effects unfortunately cannot be repaired and some have cost me greatly. Some even left me in more pain and distraught. The Spirit of God did a 360 with me and caused my compassion to supersede my desire for vengeance. So much so that He made me turn around and pray and intercede for the same people I was praying against. I resisted this instruction from the Holy Spirit for a long time and struggled with it. I cried through the prayers, blessing my so-called enemies and asking Him, Jesus, to forgive them and show them mercy. I did it reluctantly at first but as I kept praying every day, my heart was completely changed. A deep sense of compassion and mercy took over me and I let out a painful cry on their behalf that God should cancel every word I have spoken over their lives. I had repented from saying them or even thinking about them and I want these people restored just as He restored me. It was then that I heard him remind me that “Vengeance is mine and I will recompense”. In other words, when He sees my heart filled with compassion, He will repay in His own way and will.

He then allowed me to go back in time and reflect on so many good things that He had done for me, even when I was not obedient to His will. His goodness was overwhelming and I felt terrible that as undeserving as I am, He chooses to love me relentlessly so why not show the same grace and mercy towards others. Our words can really give life or destroy life. Every time God was about to do something in the bible, He asked the prophets to speak it out. I pondered over this for a long time – why will God only do it when a word is spoken? The dry bones wouldn’t come to life until Ezekiel uttered the words to call them forth to life. (Ezekiel 37 paraphrased). This means that WORDS bring everything into being. Creation happened through words spoken by God. A person’s destiny can change overnight by uttering the right words or the wrong words. Nations have gone to war because of words. Words that have been declared over people’s lives have caused open doors or created major delays and stagnation in their lives. Words, words, words….whew! To think that we only speak about 1% of the things we think about, yet the few words that come out can make or break a person’s life, is scary enough to make me desire to put a muzzle on it.

Yes, I made a decision to be very conscientious about what comes out of my mouth for the rest of my life. This is definitely a tough call but with a total submission to the Holy Spirit, I can prevail. My words have to build, create and nurture. My words must heal people and grow people. My words have to deliver people and break negative cycles in their lives. My words should lead me into good graces and glories. My words should resemble the words of Christ, with love and compassion. My words should not intentionally hurt or destroy anyone and all these are doable. When the heart is willing and obedient, the spirit of God will lead.

My mother always stressed that if what is coming out of your mouth is not from a place of love, just don’t say it. The mouth only speaks what the heart is full of. What if I am angry? I’m allowed to be angry at certain things or people when they offend me am I not? This is a tough one but while I think I can still be angry, I should not let the sun go down on my anger as the bible says. Most importantly, I should not utter the words at all. No one ever got into trouble for what’s in their head except what came out of their mouth. One of my favorite quotes is from King Duncan in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.”. I am bent on keeping this written on my forehead to remind myself that what’s in my mind cannot be read and I don’t need to utter them if they are not coming from a place of love but a place of anger.

As you navigate through your week, spend some time reflecting on the words you have spoken over people’s lives. Join me in this journey to change our words. To really echo the Psalmist in ensuring that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts will be pleasing and holy before the Lord. I pray that the Lord will give us the grace to speak life everywhere we go. Choose to let your words be a blessing to others this week.


Lady Abena.